Author Topic: Optimizing kids drinks  (Read 4944 times)

Pylortes

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Optimizing kids drinks
« on: December 21, 2014, 10:44:40 AM »
My kids (well at least my older child who is 8) started asking for/drinking soda a couple of years back, which was a habit I was trying to kick at the time and didn't want my kid starting.   At first my wife would buy things like sprite/7up/root beer since they didnt have caffeine, but I wasn't too thrilled about those options either and I knew it would be difficult to move back to water or juice all at once.
So I started purchasing powdered drinks such as Lemonade, Gatorade, Kool Aid etc from Sam's. 

The powdered versions of the drinks run about $7 ($10 for Gatorade) for a large container that the package says makes 34 quarts, however I have found that since they are powered, I can control the strength of the mix I make, and a sweet spot (pun intended) is to make the mix at about 80% strength . My kids cant tell the difference and an 8oz serving drops from 60 calories to 48, so I can usually get around 42 quarts out of a package.   Better yet, they occasionally have discounts where you can get them for $5.98/container and I'll buy several at that time.

I purchased a couple of 2 quart containers and mix up two different flavors (we typically rotate between lemonade, pink lemonade, blue gatorade, original gatorade, and Kool Aid varieties depending on what is available).  We have a PUR water filter on our sink so the water used in the drinks is better quality  and the total cost is a fraction of soda or even similar drinks purchased in packaged format.  I drink them too when I have an urge for something sweet and is a good alternative to purchasing and drinking soda.   We can usually go through a 2 quart container in about 2-3 days and then I'll often wait a day or so after before I make more until the kids complain so they drink water in the meantime.  Since I've been doing this (for about a year and a half) my kids have never asked for soda once. Also, if we go somewhere for like a picnic I just mix some lemonade up and put it in water bottles or a small jug and we can all have drinks.

I haven't calculated the total savings, but I know its significant.  We used to purchase 24 packs of soda which would probably last 2 weeks for $7-9, now a $7 package of powered lemonade lasts 2 months or more. 

MoneyCat

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2014, 10:47:59 AM »
I've been using powdered drink mixes for myself as well to deal with my sweet tooth for soda and it works very well (and very cheaply.)  There is an unfortunate stigma of poverty associated with powdered drink mixes, which turns many people off to them, but honestly it's a great way to get sweet drinks for very little money.

partgypsy

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2014, 03:16:58 PM »
We just give our kids water for every meal, and at this point it's what they prefer. We do buy sodas, other drinks for birthday parties or special events. But oftentimes when in a restaurant even if they can get a free soda, will ask for water instead. Both of their favorite non-water drink is lemonade, which is not that expensive either way you make it.

They each have water bottles for school, so if we remember we also have them bring it to the table, so they drink out of their water bottles (we don't do this 100% but when we do, one less glass to clean).

Pylortes

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2014, 04:30:46 PM »
We just give our kids water for every meal, and at this point it's what they prefer. We do buy sodas, other drinks for birthday parties or special events. But oftentimes when in a restaurant even if they can get a free soda, will ask for water instead. Both of their favorite non-water drink is lemonade, which is not that expensive either way you make it.

They each have water bottles for school, so if we remember we also have them bring it to the table, so they drink out of their water bottles (we don't do this 100% but when we do, one less glass to clean).
Yes, I agree water is the best choice and virtually free.  I'm hoping to bend the curve eventually to make water the default and the surgery drinks/juices just an occasional treat (they only drink water/milk at school and daycare so i know its possible!).  In the meantime this has worked well for us.  One other side benefit, we don't buy or use tons of plastic bottles or cans for drinks.

dragoncar

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2014, 12:34:07 PM »
Kids have smaller livers, so you want to use half a shot of vodka instead of the whole shot.

Kmp2

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2014, 01:00:36 PM »
We have a soda stream for carbonating water, and just buy the CO2 cartridges every couple of months or so. We have some pop syrup so we can have a traditional pop if we want, but normally we just drink the carbonated tap water straight, or add some lemon/vanilla/peppermint extract, or mix 50/50 with juice.

It beats the soda and perrier habit we used to have!

Kwill

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2014, 10:18:16 PM »
You could optimize further by buying packets of unsweetened Koolaid. These are about $0.20 to $0.25 in the regular supermarket and make 2 quarts each. I don't have kids, but I like to have a pitcher of lemonade on hand. For the Koolaid lemonade, I usually make it with 3/4 cup of sugar instead of a full cup. It's a little more tart, like regular lemonade. I imagine there must be places to get these things in bulk at a lower price, but even the supermarket sometimes has sales.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2014, 07:17:23 AM »
There is an unfortunate stigma of poverty associated with powdered drink mixes, which turns many people off to them, but honestly it's a great way to get sweet drinks for very little money.

There is?  I've never heard this.


We buy kool-aid packets when we want a sweet drink (otherwise I just drink water). I always use half the amount of sugar called for.  It is just way too much otherwise.

Bob W

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2014, 08:27:56 AM »
Me thinks we all watch too much TV and ads.

Water is way more than fine.  If you are concerned about your children's health it is best to stay away from juice,  milk, soda,  powdered mixes etc.   

So stick to water. 

If you want a little fluoride in their fluid (which is nice if drank constantly through the day) mix a light tea.   I buy a brand (Pompas?) at Walmart, bottom shelf, for $1 for 100 bags.   I run two through the coffee maker and it makes a nice 12 cups.   

If you are on city water,  you may want to chlorinate it  by letting it breath overnight.   

My 7 year old son drinks mostly water but we use soda as a treat occasionally.

MrFrugalChicago

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2014, 08:24:35 PM »
Water water water and milk. 3/4 are free and healthy. Last one is organic and nutritious. Sugar water is bad news.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2014, 10:30:25 AM »
Our kids get juice at breakfast and their choice of water or milk at lunch and dinner.  They're all under 10, so we actually give them fairly small amounts as well--probably 3-4 oz is enough most of the time.  (they can get water any time they want, so we're not dehydrating them!)

A couple years back, my brother, who has 8 kids and rarely serves sugary drinks, gave each of his kids a 2-liter bottle of soda for Christmas.  It was their favorite gift ever! :D

RFAAOATB

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2014, 01:38:47 PM »
I've been advised it's not OK to use Tang as a substitute for baby formula just because it's cheaper.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2015, 06:56:02 AM »
Like so many other things, what we drink (and what children drink) has gone from "special" to regular.  When I was a kid (look at my name for perspective) we drank a small glass of juice (i.e. 4 ox max) at breakfast.  Milk either as a drink or on cereal.  Milk at lunch. Milk at dinner.  Water or lemonade in between if we were thirsty. Coolade in the summer, and my Mom bought the powdered unsweetened and made her own, because pre-sweetened was too sweet.  She also made it a bit stronger (not sweeter) and froze it for popsicles in the summer - we didn't buy things like that.  There is very little sugar in that way of eating, and we were healthier, I think.  There was very little childhood obesity. 

However, this was easy for us because that is what everyone did, and we were middle class.  It wasn't penny-pinching, it was normal - "how can children grow strong teeth and bones if they don't get their milk and cheese?" was the basic thinking.  There were almost no soft drinks in the house - my parents only bought them as mixers for drinks.  So even now, for me Coke should have "rum and" in front of it  ;-)

totoro

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2015, 09:19:46 AM »
We don't buy juice or pop for home.  I do sometimes buy juice boxes for school lunches.

Our kids drink water or milk at home with no complaints because it has been that way all their lives.  If soda or juice was around they would have developed a preference for it.   

There are so many empty calories in sweetened drinks and very little to no nutrition.  I don't see this as a cost savings overall - poor health has major costs.

A can of coke has 39 grams of sugar, typical lemonade equivalent has 27 grams.   A child should not have more than 12-16 grams of sugar a day.  http://yalehealth.yale.edu/sugardetective 

You are likely exceeding this with the lemonade alone - not counting any additional sugar they may consume in foods like yoghurt, cereal or baked goods during the day.

Excessive sugar consumption has become a health hazard in North America.  You aren't doing your kids a nutritional favour by giving them daily sugary drinks with artificial colourings.  Going cold turkey might be hard but it is an option that gets easier after time.

Sibley

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2015, 12:31:48 PM »
Just a note since I've gotten in trouble for this - lemonade is acidic. This can make your teeth unhappy if you drink enough. And I drink a lot of milk.

Soda/pop will do the same, and any drink that is acidic.

NV Teacher

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2015, 05:06:00 PM »
  There is an unfortunate stigma of poverty associated with powdered drink mixes, which turns many people off to them, but honestly it's a great way to get sweet drinks for very little money.

That must be why we drank Kool-aid as kids.  Mom would mix up a pitcher, pour it into glass soda bottles, wrap tin foil around the top and send us out into the orchard with a sandwich to have a "picnic".  All those years and I thought it was a special treat.

sheepstache

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2015, 05:28:55 PM »
We just give our kids water for every meal, and at this point it's what they prefer. We do buy sodas, other drinks for birthday parties or special events. But oftentimes when in a restaurant even if they can get a free soda, will ask for water instead. Both of their favorite non-water drink is lemonade, which is not that expensive either way you make it.

They each have water bottles for school, so if we remember we also have them bring it to the table, so they drink out of their water bottles (we don't do this 100% but when we do, one less glass to clean).
Yes, I agree water is the best choice and virtually free.  I'm hoping to bend the curve eventually to make water the default and the surgery drinks/juices just an occasional treat (they only drink water/milk at school and daycare so i know its possible!).  In the meantime this has worked well for us.  One other side benefit, we don't buy or use tons of plastic bottles or cans for drinks.

I'm genuinely confused why you don't just say 'no.' Eight-year-olds, dude. You don't have to 'bend the curve.' Just stop buying it.

Pylortes

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Re: Optimizing kids drinks
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2015, 07:53:03 PM »
We just give our kids water for every meal, and at this point it's what they prefer. We do buy sodas, other drinks for birthday parties or special events. But oftentimes when in a restaurant even if they can get a free soda, will ask for water instead. Both of their favorite non-water drink is lemonade, which is not that expensive either way you make it.

They each have water bottles for school, so if we remember we also have them bring it to the table, so they drink out of their water bottles (we don't do this 100% but when we do, one less glass to clean).
Yes, I agree water is the best choice and virtually free.  I'm hoping to bend the curve eventually to make water the default and the surgery drinks/juices just an occasional treat (they only drink water/milk at school and daycare so i know its possible!).  In the meantime this has worked well for us.  One other side benefit, we don't buy or use tons of plastic bottles or cans for drinks.

I'm genuinely confused why you don't just say 'no.' Eight-year-olds, dude. You don't have to 'bend the curve.' Just stop buying it.

I get that an adult can dictate to an 8 year old whatever they want, but my parental philosophy is not to ban too many things, but rather teach my kids you can enjoy certain things in moderation. I'm concerned that if i totally ban sweet drinks or similar items that they may still have access to outside the home my kid will find a way to get it anyway since they felt deprived.  If i instead allow them to partake in moderation i hopefully reduce the likelihood of a rebellion down the road during the teenager years.   Other parents may choose a different path.  Since I try to keep the rules/restrictions limited to in my judgment particularly serious things my kids know not to mess with me on those and are more likely to stay in line.

FYI- short update my kids have been more frequently been requesting water at meals for a drink since i first posted, so I'm satisfied with the balance we have.  I also enjoy an occasional flavored drink myself as well.